Lycoris caldwellii - some thoughts and praise

James Waddick
Sun, 02 Sep 2007 09:05:57 PDT
Dear Friends,
	Before the sun heats up the garden, I did my morning patrol 
and was impressed at Lycoris caldwellii. I mentioned this species 
briefly in a recent note to PBS.

	This species is a member of the subgenus Lycoris mostly 
characterizes by the spidery flowers and fall foliage (though not all 
fit this generalization). L. cadwellii is an exception in both ways. 
The flowers are more 'nearly' regular than spidery and foliage 
appears in spring. The karyotype is identical to that of L. 
squamigera (2n = 27) and has been sterile here. Like L. squamigera it 
could be a natural hybrid involving L. sprengeri and L. straminea, 
but this is just guessing.

	The flowers in bud show pink stripes similar to L. incarnata, 
but the buds open a uniform pale yellow tipped with faint pink.

	During my walk I realized it is planted in six parts of the 
garden. The most exposed, driest and largest planting is not blooming 
well. Four short stalks where there should be dozens. Elsewhere the 
stalks are nearly full size and each site has multiple stems nearly 
normal. This is very different from all other Lycoris this season . 
Where they managed to bloom at all, single stems were more common 
than multiple stems and they were distinctly shorter than normal.

	Perhaps L. caldwellii shows some better drought tolerance by 
blooming at nearly normal season, two weeks to 10 days after L. 

	So although the pale flowers are subdued, they still are 
produced in clumps and in the cooler morning air are certainly worth 
the stroll. On all counts it has performed as well as L. squamigera.

	Anyone else care to share a good word on this lesser grown 
Lycoris species.?

		Best 		Jim W.
Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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